More than 100 workers and union solidarity activists closed down the Yarraville CSR construction site on July 25. They were protesting against construction manager John Kints threat to dock the pay of any worker who talked to a union official. Kint is notorious for his anti-union stance. He was responsible for sacking a workers representative at Woodsides Otways gas plant in Port Campbell in 2007, which led to months of industrial unrest. There will be a community meeting in Yarraville to discuss the CSR dispute. For more information, visit http://www.unionsolidarity.org.
Refugee activists have welcomed the July 29 announcement by federal immigration minister Chris Evans to significantly dismantle Australia’s policy of mandatorily detaining refugees. They noted, however, that while the changes represent an important victory for the movement for refugee rights, the struggle is not yet over.
Farmers in Liverpool Plains, south of Tamworth, are taking on BHP Billiton’s drive for black gold.
A 150-strong community meeting on July 29 called on the NSW government to urgently re-open the region’s only maternity unit, at Blue Mountains Hospital in Katoomba.
A French court has denied a woman citizenship because she wears a burqa a veil covering the entire body according to a July 11 Reuters report.
Former PM John Howard’s blandly named Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) remains under PM Kevin Rudd. It is prosecuting Victorian vice-president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Noel Washington, who faces six months’ jail for not answering questions about a union meeting.
Twenty people discussed the possibilities and challenges for Cuba, socialism and the environment following a screening of the documentary Power of Community — How Cuba Survived Peak Oil at Gecko House in Currumbin on July 27.
With the August 10 recall referendum on Bolivian President Evo Morales and eight out of nine prefects (governors) approaching, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government, together with the social movements, has launched an offensive against attempts by the right-wing opposition to prevent the electoral process going ahead.
Millions of Australian workers have faced the worst losses in their superannuation since 1992. Super funds have shown losses of on average 6.4% for the last financial year, with some showing losses as high as 15%, putting workers retirement funds in jeopardy.
WOLLONGONG More than 200 workers rallied on July 30 as part of actions across NSW in support of all public sector workers currently negotiating with the NSW government over pay and conditions.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans to nationalise one of the countries largest banks, the Bank of Venezuela, according to a July21 Xinhua.com report.
The fight to keep NSW electricity in public hands must and can be won. If Premier Morris Iemma and treasurer Michael Costa get away with their plan to sell off the state’s electricity generation capacity and its retail arms, working people and the community will get a dearer, less reliable service, and the chances of the state moving to a sustainable energy policy will be reduced to zero.
NEWCASTLE The worst ALP government is as bad as the best Liberal government, Kevin Maher, Newcastle and Central Coast secretary of the Australian Workers Union, told a public sector pay rally on July 30. About 60 AWU unionists, as well as members of services, teachers and public service unions, rallied outside the office of MP for the Hunter and NSW treasurer Michael Costa.
The export of coal is an important issue for climate campaigners to consider. Australia exports more carbon dioxide in the form of coal than its entire domestic emissions of the gas.
KATOOMBA Braving sleet and snow, 35 people attended and were inspired by a screening of writer and activist Dr Tim Andersons new documentary, The Doctors of Tomorrow, in the Blue Mountains on July 28.
The Australian Workers Union has many members in the aluminium refining and smelting industry, which accounted for 45.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 (7.9% of Australias total). Obviously, such a major greenhouse polluter the dirtiest for every dollar of value added has to be radically restructured if carbon emissions are to be cut to sustainable levels.